4th of July Reflections

The 4th of July like many holidays has become sanitized and commercialized into a nationalistic trope, but that’s not what it is at all, and it’s time to reclaim the day for its intended and historic purpose.

July 4, 2022

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director of GWP

4th of July The 4th of July is an interesting holiday. It’s been ultra-sanitized by marketers, media, and government officials to be this righteous, family friendly, patriotic, government edifying, military loving holiday.

It’s not that. Not at all. It’s not even to celebrate our freedom! The US was under the thumb of the King of England on that day. Granted, by today’s standards, America was actually quite a bit freer.

Many would be surprised to hear that July 4th isn’t celebrating a birthday of freedom.

I say all this because if you look at the feed from your American friends, you might see themes of “Freedom”, “Liberty”, “Birthday of the US”, “Patriotism”, and even “Military Appreciation”. Those are all misinformed representations of this day.

This mischaracterization has a lot of libertarian minded folks shying away from this day… but in fact they shouldn’t. This is THEIR day. I’m not big on holidays and ceremony, but the day is already marked on calendars across the US. Perhaps it’s worth liberty-minded people reclaiming the day with the facts of the matter?

This popped up in a memory on social media, from a friend who is a lawyer in California:

July 4th is NOT about the military. It’s about a bunch of rich guys conspiring to evade taxes and rid themselves of an occupying army signing a treasonous document written by a pot smoking lawyer. And that’s not a bad thing. Our Independence Day does not commemorate a battle. It commemorates a document that argued the philosophical, moral, and legal basis for rebellion.

Americans in particular need to be reminded of this. Other cultures had their revolutions, but they weren’t predicated on the same principles. It’s those founding revolutionary principles that lay the cultural trajectory of a nation. It becomes part of the DNA of the country.

This is not a passive day. It’s a day that defies obedience and essentially tells the government to shove it.

Two major issues that plague the US is centralization and a culture of permission based freedoms: both antithetical to the divorce decree we call the Declaration of Independence.

The US was supposed to be a federation: a cooperative of separate and sovereign nation-states with their own rights to lead as they saw fit.

The federal government was never meant to moralize over each state and create centralized policies outside the very narrow scope of the Constitution.

One example is the Department of Education. Anyone who was born or came to the US after 1979 have not lived without a Federal Department of Education. Education is a state matter.

Same thing goes for laws surrounding murder, marriage, the death penalty, and licensure.

By decentralizing policies, people have a better chance of seeing what works and what doesn’t, and live among more like-minded people. The risk is that you’ll have states doing some things you might find less desirable, but you’d also have states that didn’t, and the states would ultimately gravitate toward what works through testing, learning, and observing.

Drug policies for example should not be federally determined. They should be leveled by the states. Right now, we are seeing states nullify the federal orders. Many states have come around to legalizing weed, for example. It’s still federally illegal, but states are reclaiming that one. In Oregon, for example, they legalized everything! Like Portugal.

This is how it goes.

A culture of permission only makes centralization worse. How do you call yourselves “independent” much less “free” if you’re asking for permission to do everything?

Permits and licenses don’t hold people accountable. Rather they give the government control and revenue over your intentions.

A building permit?

A fishing permit?

A gun permit?

A driving license?

A hunting license?

A business license?

These things didn’t exist in 1776. No one would’ve thought to institute such things.

There are even federal processes that need to be followed just to make liquor. It’s become a form of regulatory capture where we can’t have free market competition.

The recent SCOTUS decisions have a lot of people upset and unnecessarily divided.  None of these rulings are actually impairing any freedoms. People who disagree of course are upset and feel like something was taken from them, but it wasn’t.

Centralized power can theoretically be used for popular good; the biggest contemporary arguments being marriage rights or abortion. Now some states will allow them and some might not! That’s true… and that bothers people.

However, they are fixated on things they want, not on the things they don’t. They are not looking at how such federal overreach can be detrimental, as is the case with the drug war, or welfare, or education. They certainly wouldn’t appreciate it if the courts ruled a national ban on abortion or marriage. They only liked these rulings because it mandated they be legal across the land.

The thing is, if the courts have the power to allow it, they have the power to ban it. And that’s why getting it out of federal hands is the right thing to do.

Look at the expansion of the police state, or surveillance state. Look at civil asset forfeiture and the profit sharing that goes into the enforcement of the drug war. This all sprouts from centralized policies. So yes, we can bicker about some states being hold outs, but don’t lose sight of what centralized power leads to.

The 4th of July wasn’t meant to celebrate the military or freedom. It was meant to celebrate rebellion, secession, and insurrection… but not freedom. It was meant to celebrate the will of the people to live freely. It wasn’t to commemorate government or what it does, but to celebrate people and what they can do.

The 4th of July should serve as a reminder to tap into your inner secessionist. It was the divorce decree laid down from the colonies to England. Take a moment to reflect on what that means for you. Freedom is humanity’s birthright, no matter where you are in the world.

If it means leaving the state or country you are in for another one, do it. If it means becoming a nomad, do it! You don’t need to wait for a political movement to declare your independence.

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